Mesa's Radeon Vulkan Driver "RADV" Prepares Experimental Mesh Shaders

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 30 October 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT. 17 Comments
Mesa's Radeon Vulkan open-source driver "RADV" is preparing to introduce experimental support for mesh shaders.

Patches on Friday were posted providing experimental support for mesh shaders as outlined via the NV_mesh_shader specification. Mesh shaders are working but task shaders are not yet implemented -- though developers say that support should be coming soon. Mesh shaders provide a compute-like shader stage to replace the conventional vertex/geometry pipeline. More background information on mesh shaders can be found via this NVIDIA blog post back from when they introduced the capability with Turing GPUs.

The RADV developers also note, "NV_mesh_shader will never be officially supported on RADV, because it performs poorly on AMD hardware. However, we are implementing this extension to get some experience with mesh shader technology. Users should not rely on this support because we are going to remove it if/when a potential cross-vendor extension appears."

Intel for their part has also been preparing their Mesa driver for mesh shaders. Intel Xe HPG hardware will support mesh shaders and so they too have been working on NV_mesh_shader support, at least until there is a cross-vendor Vulkan extension for mesh shaders.

AMD RDNA2 (Radeon RX 6000 series) graphics hardware supports mesh shaders and relies on Next-Gen Geometry (NGG).

The experimental mesh shader work for the RADV Vulkan driver can currently be found via this merge request that is undergoing review but will hopefully be merged soon.
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